The school bell rings in a tiny Korean village, and students file into class.

But this is not your average classroom - the oldest student is 77.

Bangrim Primary School has started enrolling grandmothers, in a desperate bid to keep the school open.

Across rural South Korea, falling birth rates and migration to the cities is sounding the death knell for many village schools.

"The grandmothers keep the school alive. I hope more grandmas join us, but there are not many," says elderly school student, Park Go-ee.

Grandmothers like Park Go-ee and her classmate Park Kyung-soon were denied an education in their younger years due to strict cultural traditions. But now, they are finally fulfilling their dreams of learning to read and write.

Other rural schools are resorting to different methods to keep their doors open.

On South Korea's Jeju Island, Siheung School is trying to boost enrolments by encouraging young families to move to the village. The town is building cheap rental housing and offering extra-curricular activities for students, including kayaking and windsurfing.

But for some villages, it is already too late to save their schools. A primary school in the rural village of Yaksu that was forced to close has been transformed into a "school for the elderly", a daycare centre catering to the town's growing number of senior citizens.

101 East meets the grandmothers helping to save South Korea's dying schools.

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Source: Al Jazeera